On Saturday, thirty-nine young women, each one representing a year of legalized abortion nationwide since 1973, began a walk of 250 miles in southern Texas. Over the course of the next 19 days they’ll cover the distance between the nation’s largest abortion center in Houston to the courthouse in Dallas where the case of Roe v. Wade was first heard.
The journey is being sponsored by an organization called Back to Life, whose founding mission is to stir America’s conscience to the injustice and tragedy of abortion. Their founder is Laura Z. Allred, a woman whose vision for the event is bold and straightforward:
“While there are many prominent voices on both sides of the abortion issue,” she said, “the voices of young, 20-something women – those most directly impacted – often are not heard. This purposeful and sacrificial pilgrimage will bring attention to the post Roe v. Wade generation as they call for hope, healing and action for our nation in this important election year.”
These 39 women are reminding us that the quest to preserve the sanctity and dignity of every life is no passive affair. The walk is symbolic, but the motive and call-to-action behind the event is very real.
Over the years, some have suggested there’s nothing ordinary people can do to help reverse the effects of Roe, that the matter rests with the Supreme Court, which appears in no hurry to overturn the ruling. Oh, sure, we can write letters and hold signs and pray for a miracle, but the cultural sophisticates often see that type of behavior as symbolic, and not very substantive.
They are wrong.
Prayer is a powerful resource, of course, and through it God does wondrous and mighty things. Marches and rallies are helpful, too. Historically, gatherings of like-minded people have helped to start and build the momentum of great movements. The cause for life is no different. The annual gathering on the DC Mall to commemorate the tragedy of January 22, 1973, is a major event each year. It’s often held in freezing temperatures, but people do take notice year after year that so many would brave the cold and elements to support women and children.
When ordinary people boldly step out in faith, people in positions of authority are watching. Lawmakers are emboldened by the spectacle and are encouraged to sponsor legislation friendly to the pro-life cause. Consider this report from the Associated Press this past October, about the impact of Arizona’s Abortion Consent Act:
“Abortions in Arizona dropped by nearly one-third in September after a pro-life law went into effect. The state reported there were 729 abortions in Arizona during September — a decline of almost 31 percent from September 2010, nearly 32 percent from August of this year and 39 percent from the monthly average for the last year.”
That’s a significant development and a fine reminder that the incremental action of passionate pro-life supporters can literally save lives. In that same spirit, I hope you’ll join me in praying for these 39 women who will be walking for the next 19 days to call attention to the dignity of life. Please pray for their safety and for the influence and impact of their very public witness. In a culture that tends to ridicule pro-life individuals who publicly support the cause, these individuals are doing a very brave and courageous thing.